Sexual dimorphism in the pelvis of Microcebus

Elizabeth M. St. Clair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Pelvic sexual dimorphism occurs in many anthropoid species and is often attributed to obstetric selection on female pelvic morphology. Few studies of pelvic dimorphism have included strepsirrhine taxa, which typically have relatively smaller infants than those of anthropoids. Because smaller female primates give birth to relatively larger infants, it is possible that the pelves of Microcebus, the smallest extant primate genus, will show some evidence of selection on obstetric adequacy. A comparison of adult female and neonatal body masses indicates that individual neonatal Microcebus are relatively large compared to adult female body mass, even though members of the taxon frequently produce twins. I examined variation in the bony pelvis within a sample of Microcebus. I measured specimens from a single locality, which probably represent 1 population. I measured 8 pelvic and 3 femoral variables to investigate skeletal size and pelvic size and shape dimorphism. Females significantly exceed males in absolute values of sacral width, pelvic height, pubic length, and distances from the pubic symphysis to the ischial tuberosity and points on the sacrum. Measurements of the femur are not significantly greater in females, suggesting that the pelvic differences are not due to skeletal size dimorphism. Significant pelvic shape or ratio differences, calculated via the geometric mean of 5 variables as the denominator, included greater relative pubic length and sacral width in females. Hence selection for obstetric adequacy may occur in the extremely small-bodied Microcebus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1109-1122
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Primatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Mouse lemurs
  • Neonatal size
  • Obstetric adequacy
  • Os coxa
  • Strepsirrhines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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